ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN) – A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday morning for the new Ishpeming Multi-Purpose Senior Center.
The old Ishpeming Senior Center on Pine Street closed in October 2019 and has since been torn down. This comes after the Ishpeming City Council voted to close the senior center down after an inspection deemed the building unsafe.
“Well at one time it was a garage, it was converted many years ago into a senior citizen center,” said former Ishpeming Mayor Karl Lehmann. “The whole foundation had shifted, there were cracks in the walls, bumps in the floor, doors that wouldn’t shut. Just a lot of issues that would have cost too much money to go back in and mitigate. So, the idea was to well ‘Let’s try and solve this with a new building’, and eventually, it happened.”
Non-profit organization Greater Ishpeming Commission on Aging overlooks and operates the senior center. Its goal is to provide “services and programs to promote the independence, safety, dignity, and well-being of older adults.”
“[The center will help] to improve their lives through the ability for socialization and these various programs that may be otherwise they’d just be sitting at home doing nothing,” said Tom Ryan, the treasurer for the Greater Ishpeming Commission on Aging. “This gets them out, keeps them stimulated, keeps their mind active. And it allows those of us that aren’t as old as they might be to learn from them because they’ll tell stories, and usually they’re valuable stories in some regard.”
Many local officials were in attendance, alongside Representative Sara Cambensy and Senator Ed McBroom, to commemorate the beginning of construction.
The project is funded by a $1.9 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and other local donors.
The new facility will be located at 121 Greenwood Street in Ishpeming. Elyse Bertucci, the director of the Greater Ishpeming Commission on Aging, said she hopes the project will be completed by June 2021.